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First drive: 2023 BMW X7. Image by BMW.

First drive: 2023 BMW X7
Taking controversial styling cues from the new 7 Series saloon, the luxurious X7 aims to build on the foundations laid by its predecessor.

   



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2023 BMW X7 xDrive 40i M Sport

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BMW claims the X7 is its "only" luxury SUV, which sounds a bit like telling your kids you have a favourite. We suspect the X5 won't be pleased. Anyway, the X7 is designed to be a kind of seven-seat 7 Series that's capable of traversing the rough stuff, and this new version is supposed to be even more capable than its predecessor. So we went to find out whether it lives up to the billing.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 BMW X7 xDrive 40i M Sport
Price: From £88,610 (£101,715 as tested)
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power: 381hp
Torque: 520Nm
Emissions: 224g/km
Economy: 26.6-29.1mpg
0-62mph: 5.8 seconds
Top speed: 152mph
Boot space: 750-2,120 litres

Styling

The influence of the new 7 Series is immediately obvious in the X7's design. And though it's hard for such a massive luxury 4x4 to be anything other than obnoxious, the X7 wears its design marginally more comfortably than BMW's flagship saloon. The narrow lights make it feel modern, while the grille is less ostentatious than in some of BMW's recent efforts. The looks are somewhat specification-dependent, though, with certain colours suiting the car better than others.

Interior

As you'd expect from an upmarket BMW SUV, the X7's cabin is incredibly luxurious. Traditional BMW build quality is in evidence, with solid materials and sturdy construction, while there's ample room for seven. The options list is lengthy, which means you can add tons of luxury touches, including climate-controlled cupholders and rear-seat entertainment. As standard, though, it still comes with BMW's latest touchscreen infotainment system, which is clearer and crisper than before, while it still has the iDrive rotary controller that makes it less distracting on the move. We still don't like touchscreen climate control settings, but at least the X7 makes them accessible from pretty much any point in the menus.

Practicality

Obviously, a car measuring more than five metres in length and two metres across is going to be spacious, but the X7 still impresses in this area. Those rear seats really are spacious enough for adults, albeit only for relatively short journeys, while kids will have acres to play with. And that has no impact on boot space, which remains useful even with all seven seats upright. Fold the rearmost row down, though, and you get an enormous 750 litres of capacity to fill.

Performance

The X7 makes most sense in 3.0-litre diesel Ď40dí form, but those seeking more power or who just think diesel is a dirty word might prefer the 3.0-litre petrol option tested here. Dubbed the Ď40ií, it produces a plentiful 381hp and gets the X7 from 0-62mph in a startling 5.8 seconds. Thatís the kind of acceleration more usually associated with hot hatchbacks. Of course, it isnít especially economical Ė we managed around 26mpg on our test and less around town Ė but we suspect most owners wonít be too concerned about economy. More likely to be of interest is the refinement, which is so good you sometimes canít tell whether the engine is running, and the noise, which becomes a discreet but menacing rumble when you put your foot down.

Ride & Handling

BMW makes a lot of noise about driving pleasure, but you donít really expect that to apply to a hulking great 4x4. Yet when you drive the X7, it feels as though the rulebook has been thrown out of the window. Yes, the ride is a little less silky than we might like Ė possibly as a result of the massive alloys Ė but it isnít exactly uncomfortable, and that stiffness means the huge body can be kept in check more easily. The lack of body roll is remarkable for something so big, and the steering feel is excellent, which means itís surprisingly entertaining to drive quickly. Obviously, it still feels big and heavy, but itís more agile than you might expect, too.

Value

X7 prices start at a hefty £84,975, but you do get plenty for your money. Not only does every X7 come with at least a 3.0-litre engine, but there are big alloy wheels, air suspension and all the clever technology. Even the entry-level Excellence comes with a panoramic glass roof, keyless entry and a reversing camera, not to mention four-zone climate control, electronically adjustable seats and satellite navigation. And although leatherette seats are standard, 'proper' leather is a no-cost option. Basically, the entry-level xDrive 40d Excellence is all the X7 you need, but if you want more, there are M Sport and M Performance options too.

Verdict

The X7 is an awesome piece of engineering. That something so big and heavy can feel so nimble and accelerate so quickly is astounding. Admittedly, it isn't quite as comfortable as some of its rivals, but it's hardly jiggly and the handling makes up for those shortcomings. As with the 7 Series, this is the driver's choice in this part of the market.



James Fossdyke - 17 Jan 2023



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2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i. Image by BMW.2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i. Image by BMW.2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i. Image by BMW.2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i. Image by BMW.2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i. Image by BMW.

2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i. Image by BMW.2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i. Image by BMW.2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i. Image by BMW.2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i. Image by BMW.







 

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